The response to the global pandemic as a result of COVID-19 has been an excellent example of the dangers of individual nations trying to manage global problems (like the climate crisis.) Viruses do not care about boundaries of nations, provinces, or states. The entire world suffers from nations who's response is insufficient. People die in one country due to the ineffective response of a neighboring nation.
GLOBAL PROBLEMS DEMAND GLOBAL SOLUTIONS!
From the book: A Revolutionary Solution
Throughout history, whether we have been tribes with chieftains, monarchies with kings, republics, totalitarian regimes, dictatorships, or democracies, those with the most wealth have held the power. Those who've been wealthy have often exerted great influence on or have been the politicians who create and amend laws. This always results in the wealthy having vastly more rights than the poor. Moreover, the rights to food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health (healthcare), old age, education, and career are all typically dependent upon our ability to pay.
Nationalism is just one of the many problems the existence of countries creates. War is another, and likely the largest waste of both natural and human resources on our planet:1
- The monetary costs of war are astronomical.2
- The true cost of war is not just loss of life, maiming and scarring. The money and resources spent on war are not spent on health care. Money and resources spent on war don't get spent on social services. These costs to society run longer and deeper than the immediate impacts of war – potentially eroding the foundations of society for decades to come.
- On top of all of these costs, war is often extremely harmful to our environment.3
- Humans fighting humans accounts for over 50 percent of the US government budget. This is the most egregious example in our world. Over $1.7 trillion was dedicated to the military in 2017 alone. The U.S. has 17 million military personnel worldwide.4,5
- It would take just one-tenth this amount ($170 billion) to end extreme poverty worldwide.6
- In 2011 there were as much as 6.1 million people employed both directly and indirectly in U.S. military defense.7
- The consequence from Iraq dumping thousands of barrels of Kuwaiti oil into the Persian Gulf during the Persian Gulf war to weaken Kuwait was climate devastation.8
- Over 6,303,847 metric tons Aluminum, 2,388,600 metric tons Copper, 2,195,000 metric tons Explosives, 1,621,000 metric tons Lead, 115,500 metric tons Nickel, 74,502 metric tons Tin, 2,438,000 metric tons Zinc, 733,006,633 metric tons Steel, and a staggering 8,242,000,000 metric tons Oil (equivalence) were used in WWII.9
Many fellow humans insist to me that war and conflict are "just human nature," and we will never be able to stop the cycle. I strongly disagree, as anthropologists are sharply divided on the matter.10 Is war truly a "natural progression" of events based on our current socio-economic constructs? It is when only a few own the world and get us to fight for them when they create conflict. It is when we tolerate abusive dictators. It is when authoritarian regimes manipulate, corrupt, and intimidate for world dominance. It is not, however, "human nature" to fight wars or even to fight at all.11
The problem is, we are extremely short on time to enact the changes needed. We must move quickly, or we will realize our chance at survival on our planet has passed.12 Will it be easy? Absolutely not, at least not at first. But, in less than a single generation, I believe our new societal norms will become not just obvious but practiced and natural.
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote, "All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."13 Let us all move swiftly through the first two steps to self-evidence! How? Start with discussions – with family, friends, coworkers, the person next to you in line, your elected officials. We need to have these discussions, now and globally!
- "Environmental impact of war," Wikipedia, Accessed November 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_war.
- Dan Salerno, "The True Cost of War," lifesomethings, March 26, 2018, http://lifesomethings.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-true-cost-of-war.html.
- "Conflict & Natural Resources," The Environmental Literacy Council, Accessed November 14, 2018, https://enviroliteracy.org/land-use/conflict-natural-resources/.
- Maged Srour, "Armed Conflicts: $1.7 Trillion Global Spending on Military in 2017: Highest since End of Cold War," Inter Press Service, May 22, 2018, http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/05/1-7-trillion-global-spending-military-2017-highest-since-end-cold-war/.
- Jeff Desjardins, "U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country," Visual Capitalist, March 18, 2017, http://www.visualcapitalist.com/u-s-military-personnel-deployments-country/.
- Ben Harack, "How much would it cost to end extreme poverty in the world?" Vision of Earth, August 26, 2011, https://www.visionofearth.org/economics/ending-poverty/how-much-would-it-cost-to-end-extreme-poverty-in-the-world/.
- Jennifer Rizzo, "Defense cuts: The jobs numbers game," CNN, September 22, 2011, http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/22/defense-cuts-the-jobs-numbers-game/.
- Terry Atlas, Michael Arndt, Timothy McNulty, Steve Daley, Mitchell Locin and Casey Bukro, "IRAQ DUMPS KUWAITI OIL; HUGE SLICK IMPERILS GULF," Chicago Tribune, January 26, 1991, http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991-01-26/news/9101080332_1_sea-island-terminal-mina-al-ahmadi-oil-export.
- "Military production during World War II," Wikipedia, Accessed August 28, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II.
- Josh Gabbatiss, "Is Violence Embedded in Our DNA? Some research suggests that throughout our evolution an innate tendency toward fighting shaped human anatomy. But anthropologists are sharply divided on the matter," Sapiens, 12 Jul 2017, https://www.sapiens.org/evolution/human-violence-evolution/.
- Michael Mendizza, "Allowing Human Nature To Work Successfully: A very candid conversation with Jean Liedloff," The Continuum Concept, Fall 1998, http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/human-nature.html.
- Mark Howden and Rebecca Colvin, "IPCC Publishes Climate Change Report Into 1.5C Target: Everything You Need to Know," Newsweek, October 8, 2018, https://www.newsweek.com/ipcc-climate-change-report-target-emissions-global-warming-1157255.
- Melissa Chu, "The 3 Stages Of Truth In Life," Huffington Post, July 28, 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-chu/the-3-stages-of-truth-in-_b_11244204.html.